The five Bryan City Council candidates have been as varied with their spending as they have with their campaigns, reports show, with some hopefuls spending tens of thousands of dollars and another spending nothing at all. 

The most recent campaign finance reports submitted to the city secretary's office show the expenses and contributions of each candidate for the five-week period from Sept. 25 to Oct. 24, a little more than a week out from the Nov. 3 election. 

Former councilman and Single Member District 5 candidate Ben Hardeman has, by far, spent the most money of the five candidates throughout the campaign. Hardeman has spent about $22,000 in total, with $20,127 in expenses paid through political contributions. He's spent $1,757 of his own money. Hardeman also loaned $3,500 to himself. 

Hardeman spent most of his money on marketing, advertising and consulting. About $9,620 went to Twinz Co. Marketing for consulting, marketing, web design and advertising. Hardeman paid another $3,277 to KORA-FM, Bryan Broadcasting and The Eagle, and $5,250 was spent on signs and billboards. 

Other purchases include a little more than $800 for a fundraiser at Amico Nave Ristorante, PayPal fees and other printing, advertising and marketing expenses. 

In addition to being the biggest spender in both the Single Member District 5 and At-Large Place 6 races, Hardeman also brought in the second-largest amount of most money. 

Hardeman received a total of $19,359 in political contributions, with $8,910 raised in the last reporting period. A slew of former Bryan mayors and council members contributed to Hardeman's campaign, as well as a few current Bryan officials.  

Current Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski and his wife, Tasha, gave Hardeman $300, and outgoing Place 5 councilman Art Hughes gave $800. College Station Councilwoman Julie Schultz and her husband, Joe, also contributed $300. Former mayors Mark Conlee, Ernie Wentrcek and Ron Blatchley gave $1,000, $250 and $100, respectively. Other former Bryan council members who contributed include Dan Galvin, Kandy Rose, Russell Bradley, Michael Beal, Kenny Mallard and Ann Horton. 

Hardeman's largest contributions came from the Texas Association of Realtors political action committee in the amount of $1,500 and Timothy Bryan, chairman and CEO of The Bank & Trust, who gave $1,250. 

He had one in-kind contribution of $100 from Chandler Arden, owner of Downtown Uncorked, for a photo shoot. 

Hardeman outspent his opponent for the District 5 seat, Jarrod Hamlin, by almost six times. 

Hamlin, a political newcomer, spent a total of about $3,732. Most of that, $3,648, came from political contributions. Hamlin spent about $84 of his own money, and loaned himself about $500. 

More than half of Hamlin's expenditures -- about $2,086 -- was spent on printing, cutting and mailing door hangers, postcards and other mailers, which he spent $200 to have designed. Hamlin also spent $1,197 on yard and road signs. 

Other expenses include $50 to rent a room at C&J Barbeque to meet supporters, checks for his campaign account and stamps. 

Hamlin brought in more money than he spent -- he had a total of $5,551 monetary contributions. 

Among his contributors are former Bryan mayor Lloyd Joyce and his wife, Mary, who gave the largest amount at $500 each. Karen Hall, treasurer of the Citizens for Bryan political action committee, gave $100.

In the At-Large Place 6, Buppy Simank both spent the most money and brought in the most political contributions. He spent about $20,808, all from political contributions. Simank did not take out any loans or have any personal expenses. 

Simank paid Twinz Co. Marketing and Phil Shackelford Consulting $6,438 and $3,920, respectively, for consulting services. About $4,600 went toward advertising, and another $1,800 was spent on printing. Simank also paid $2,204 to Bryan Broadcasting and $1,209 to The Eagle. 

Other expenses include $600 for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction and PayPal fees. 

Simank brought in $27,549 in political contributions, the most of the five candidates running for the Bryan City Council. 

His largest contributions came from the Texas Association of Realtors political action committee, $1,500, and Kenneth and Lina Lawson, $4,000. Casey Oldham and Hunter Goodwin of Oldham Goodwin Group, LLC, each gave Simank $250, and Mark Kristen, CEO of Kristen Distributing Co., gave $750. There are also several former local politicians among Simank's contributors. 

He also had several in-kind contributions --- $400 from Michael and Sandra Schaefer to rent the Brazos Cotton Exchange facility, $280 from Events to Remember in Navasota for linens and $105 from Luke Ruffins for bar services on Sept. 10. 

Simank also reports $1,466 in in-kind contributions from himself and his wife Jennifer for catering on three different dates. Simank is the owner of Buppy's Catering. 

Kevin Davenport was the only other At-Large Place 6 candidate aside from Simank with contributions and expenses. Davenport spent a total of $1,637. Like Simank, Davenport did not take out any loans or spend any of his own money. 

Davenport's expenditures include $1,427 for advertising and $60 to the city of Bryan parks and recreation department for a fundraiser. 

Davenport brought in $2,840 in political contributions, including $50 from Councilman Al Saenz, who represents Single Member District 2. Nathan Favero's $2,000 attribute for most of Davenport's raised funds. He also lists $450 in proceeds from a fundraiser at Sue Haswell Park among his monetary political contributions. 

The third candidate for the At Large Place 6 race, Ethan Brisby, did not raise nor spend any money for his campaign. Brisby said in a recent Q&A with The Eagle that this was "strategic and by choice."

Election Day is Tuesday. 

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(5) comments

Common Sense

Uncommon sense I find your claims of my comments being "baseless" factually inaccurate. My source is the eagle. Just click the link now that I disproved your baseless claims let's move on to claim of the current council not being able to get anything done. Ben hardeman himself said on his KEOS interview that the council agrees 90% of the time it's just that 10% that the media reports is where they disagree. Now let me dispute your first point of when I actually posted my first comment. If you look at the time stamp of when I posted it clearly says 2:41am the article was posted shortly after midnight. Please vote your conscious and vote for the best candidate who has no ties to any sitting councilmember but only wants to help build Bryan not line his own pockets with kick backs I mean why else would you spend over 20k for a local non partisan race?


Uncommon Sense, the Eagle online is usually up just after midnight so I find it interesting you keep attacking the other person without evidently being aware of this fact.

We all have our opinions but you come across very hateful from your posts here especially the last one. Sorry to see that.

Fred Gutierrez

My posts? These (two) are the first posts that I've made! And in what way are they hateful?

I am not sure where you are seeing the articles, but I don't get mine until about 6:00 AM each day. So unless you are waiting with a campaign "comment" (advertisement) for it somewhere, I don't see how you can comment before it is distributed.

In any case, I only offered come constructive criticism so that his posts might be easier to read and understand.

I also expressed my opinion and made a comment asking for people to vote for whom THEY choose rather than posting a campaign ad.

Disagreeing with someone is not hateful or disrespectful, however, if I was hateful in any way, please let me know what was hateful so that I can try to avoid upsetting anyone.

Fred Gutierrez

First, let me say that I find it interesting that the comment from Common Sense was post more than three hours BEFORE the article was published...Almost as if it were part of a pre-planned smear campaign. And the last line of the comment just PROVES that it is a blatant and very muddy (as in mud-slinging) campaign advertisement.

Second, I find it ironic that anyone would insinuate that someone who has PROVEN that they can get things done and thus has the SUPPORT and CONFIDENCE of the community and the people with whom he is expected to work would be incapable of doing a good job. Especially since he has already PROVEN that he will work hard for the community!

Bryan is a small community and anyone who is involved in it's growth and improvement are very familiar with each other for this very reason. The people who work hard to make improvements and positive changes for the city share a common goal and interest and in a community this small, they will necessarily be familiar with each other.

The idea that someone who is so obviously obstructionist, who fights against the very people that do the WORK and make the INVESTMENTS needed to improve and build the city, would be able to get anything accomplished is ludicrous.

I have been following the progress of Bryan and the posts about the candidates running for office in Bryan for some time and have noticed that there seems to be a cabal of obstructionists who seem to think that any enterprise that profitable (and therefore sustainable) is a bad thing for the city.

They seem to believe that any improvements to the city that will improve business or conditions for citizens who are in any way familiar with, or are acquainted with anyone in the city are bad for the city. In a city of this size of this size, it is very literally IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to do business with someone with whom you do not have any connection at all. The ONLY alternative, the ONLY way that the city could do business with someone with whom they are not familiar is to send all of their business AWAY from the community! But perhaps that is what these obstructionists want...

Don't be fooled by baseless accusations and obstructionist platitudes. Go with your gut and vote for the candidates (of your choice) whom you believe will do the best job of bringing improvements and business to Bryan. Vote for the candidates that you believe have the best interest of the city at heart and who have WORKED and actually DONE SOMETHING to improve the city and life in it. Vote for the candidates who have the support and confidence of the businesses and citizens of Bryan and who will work to MAKE improvements rather than working to prevent any change.

Common Sense

There's an old saying in politics, "follow the money" a phrase attributed to an informant that led to the watergate scandal. Now in small local government where the money trail leads to is "committee gate" a self patronage system where the friends of the mayor and his consociates are awarded with appointments on almost every board and commission in the city of Bryan. There is a direct link between the people who donate to the mayor and his three Crony's on council and the number of boards and commissions they serve on. Let's take Ben hardeman for example, who has consistently donated to bienski and bienski hand picked opponents like Kyle incardona. it's no coincidence that Ben serves on over six boards and commissionsin the city of Bryan. Numerous people who sent checks bienski way when he last ran sent checks Ben hardeman way as well as buppy simank. $1500 for a realtor PAC who if memory serves me right donated $5000 to defeat the three ethic charter amendments that passed overwhelmingly by the voters. Both Ben hardeman and buppy simank have both spent over 20k for a local non partisan city council race where your only paid $10 a month. Don't be fooled by slick advertising and fast talking rhetoric, go with your gut and go with the candidate who has never donated to any sitting council-member go with the candidate who will fight for the right of every citizen to have a fair chance at serving the city on the various boards and commissions. Please vote Jarrod Hamlin for single member district four and Kevin Davenport for Bryan city council at large place 6.

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